Where Chicken Is King

Those driving east down Lincoln Highway may have noticed a seemingly abandoned storefront topped by giant lights spelling one word: CHICKEN.

The name of that restaurant is Lothson’s Karry-Out, 644 E. Lincoln Highway, “Where Chicken is King.”

Opened by DeKalb native Keith Lothson and his wife Arlene in 1949 at their first location on Market Street and relocated to it’s current location in 1957-1958.  Lothson’s began as an egg and dressed poultry restaurant and began frying chicken in 1950. Lothson’s also serves fried perch as well as fried livers and gizzards. The majority of the restaurant’s business comes from university students.

All info gleaned from a Northern Star article.

Sign Says open 4:30PM to 8:00PM Wed-Sun. Sounds to me like very targeted operating hours.  I’m thinking the hours most people eat and likely the days with the heaviest traffic.  On the other hand, it could just be the days Janet Fawcett, who runs the place is available.

Note: Through mid-2012, I found postings and reviews from folks supporting Lothson’s as the best chicken ever.  Nothing from the last several months.  It’s been closed every time I’ve driven through, but then again, I haven’t hit the magic days or times.

Postscript: 3/31/2013: Janet saw this post and comments that the carry out is still open during it’s scheduled hours.  In fact, we can expect some upgrades this Spring.  See her thoughts in the comments.



Where Chicken Is King — 4 Comments

  1. Hi,
    Not abandoned, never closed since 1949. Sorry you haven’t found us open. Hours are Wed- Sunday opening at 4:30 pm. and taking the last orders at 7:30. Hours have been this way for at least 30 years. The majority of my business comes from the very diverse community of DeKalb and the surrounding area. I have several customers who come from closer into Chicago, just out for a day away from the city. Several have stopped on road trips as we have been featured in a few Lincoln Highway books that have been published in the last few years. It’s a friendly little place and most are known or will become known by name.

    Watch for the new front on the store coming as soon as the weather changes. Pellet guns and glass don’t mix. Am also working on restoring the “CHICKEN” sign to it’s former glory. It will be looking better than ever. Hope to see you someday.


    • Oh how cool you found my site. Thank you for the clarification. Hope my post didn’t convey you weren’t open, I just had some uncertainty.
      I’m still making regular trips to DeKalb, just mostly early morning and late night. I’ll have to make a point to get there in time some Sunday.
      Glad the glass gets replaced. Sad the sign might get restored. I love it as it is. Tremendous character and patina.

      If you have any more insights about the restaurant or any of my posts, please feel free to drop me an email or a comment.
      Take great care.

  2. Pingback: Lothsons Revisited | DeKalb, ILLINOIS

  3. My grandmother-Georgia Fredrick’s-worked for Keith and Aileen when on Market St. She went on to open her own Karry Out in Elgin Illinois on Grove Street. She thrived at “Where Chicken is King” for close to 30 years. I have a picture from last summer of the sign painted on the East side of the building “Lothson’s”. I no longer live in DeKalb but frequented Lothson’s until we moved to Phoenix, AZ in 1989.

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